Tokens power decentralized applications. Within its native protocol a token serves as a means of exchange, store of value, and unit of account. Looking beyond Bitcoin, tokens are capturing the world’s attention with their innate ability to represent socio-technological systems – norms and value expresses in code, native the blockchain protocol. Blockchain gives humanity a chance to create new economic, political and social systems, which are more transparent, resilient and empowering for the individual.
Cloud computing is used on a day-to-day basis. Every time you snap a picture, it is automatically saved to your Apple or Google cloud. Blockchain will follow a similar trajectory. If implemented well, the technology becomes invisible and embedded in day-to-day use.
Adoption is growing fast
People are already expressing an interest. Approximately 1-2% of US citizens has been exposed to cryptocurrencies. Coinbase is ranked the #1 app in the app store, and valued over 1.7 billion dollars. Bitcoin is bigger than ever, but so is the total pie ($0.7 trillion dollars at time of writing).
The value of cryptocurrencies continues to grow and the cryptocurrency craze broadens to embrace blockchain business transformation. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by 2019. Companies are realizing the potential of blockchain technology. Low-hanging fruit is supply chain management, payments and tokenized incentivisation.
2018 will be the moment of truth. The first mass-market use cases will come out of development over the next few months and regulators will become more assertive.
The role of the government
One of the biggest threats to worldwide blockchain adoption is government. If governments decide to jointly ban cryptocurrencies this would slow, though not necessarily halt, blockchain innovation.
However, I would argue that in 2018 the government will discover that blockchain technology is not their enemy. Don’t just regulate the blockchain, regulate through the blockchain. Using smart contracts, the government-to-citizen relationship will be revolutionized. Expect countries such as Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and Estonia to take the lead.
Education. Education. Education.
Entrepreneurs have the responsibility to educate the market. Sectors ripe for disruption are healthcare, payments, NGO’s and transportation.
New ecosystems are based on value. Our company, DOVU, uses tokenized incentivisation mechanisms to align stakeholder incentives, to stimulate value-adding behavior in the transportation ecosystem. For example, you could earn DOV tokens by sharing data or responsible driving behavior. In turn, you can spend your DOV token on services within the mobility ecosystem, such as parking or EV charging.
Tokenized incentivisation is the consumer facing layer. Smart contracts, programmable pieces of code, create if-this-then-that conditions. For example, if a car drives from point A to point B, payment is initiated upon arrival at point B. These digital agreements do not need to be between two people; it can be person-to-person, person-to-vehicle or even vehicle-to-vehicle.
The blockchain serves as a ledger, or one single source of truth. Was the plane really delayed or cancelled? Is this car only 3 years old?
The intersection of these three components is an incredibly powerful combination; by removing trust from the equation for success, and aligning all stakeholders to believe in the same definition of success, we’re on the brick of an exponential innovation curve. Similar principles can be applied to a whole range of other industries.
Life beyond Bitcoin
Bitcoin is still just a currency and a store of value. Think of it as the first big app of the Internet of Value, like email was the first big app of its predecessor, the Internet of Information. But what will be the equivalent of the Internet —the general-purpose platform for application development?
Expect blockchain to dominate the headlines once again in 2018. We are at the very beginning of a new technological revolution.